India Education
A tale of brilliance and perseverance
Mar 14, 2007 - 10:24:22 AM

Lucknow, March 14 - Sushma Verma, 7, and Jabbar Hussain, 65, are creating history in Uttar Pradesh for much the same reason. Both are appearing for the Class 10 examination this year. The difference: Sushma is probably the youngest child in the country to take the test, while Hussain is going for it the 37th time.

The two live within 180 km of each other - Sushma in Lucknow, the state capital, and Hussain in Bindki town in Fatehpur district. And both appear to be equally determined about their goals.

Do Sushma's tiny fingers get tired writing the three-hour-long exam?

'I could always read Hindi and English from a very early age, but writing was my handicap for which I had to do a lot of practice,' the child prodigy told IANS.

She went on to add with pride: 'I am so happy that I completed my first paper - and managed to write continuously for three hours.'

The Class 10 board exams began in the state Monday.

Hussain, who first sat for the high school exam in 1966, is equally determined. 'I have been taking the exam year after year and I hope to pass one day,' he said nonchalantly. His only regret: 'For some years in between I missed the exam due to personal problems.'

Sushma's father Tej Bahadur works as a daily-wage labourer and earns barely Rs. 80 a day. She studies at St. Meera's School on a full scholarship.

Her school principal Anita Ratra explained: 'We had to give her extra classes in Class 9, but by the time she reached Class 10 she started moving way ahead of her own classmates, who could often be seen taking the seven-year-old child's help in subjects like Chemistry and Biology.'

Sushma first came under media focus because of her ability to read the Ramayana when she was two - an age when most toddlers are learning to speak out a full sentence.

She was lucky enough to get admission in St. Meera's School, unlike her equally bright older brother Shailendra, who appeared for his Class 10 exam at the age of nine from the National Open School as the Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Parishad did not give him permission to sit for the regular board exam.

Now 14, Shailendra is all set to complete his Bachelor's in Computer Applications - from Lucknow University.

At 11, he was the youngest child to clear the SAT and TOEFL exams and was offered admission to the East New Mexico University in the US. He missed the opportunity because of financial constraints.

'I am grateful to Lucknow University for extending free sponsorship to my son and to St. Meera's school for providing free education to Sushma,' says Tej Bahadur, who himself could not study beyond Class 8.

District Inspector of Schools - Vikas Srivastava, who was instrumental in getting Sushma the required age waiver for appearing in the high school exam, describes her as a 'wonder kid indeed'.

And Hussain's school principal, Hari Om, has nothing but praise for his 65-year-old student: 'His perseverance is incredible. He is hardworking too. What is even more commendable is that despite repeated failures, he has never tried using unfair means to pass his exams.'

All the best to Sushma Verma and Jabbar Hussain!

All rights reserved by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited ( )